Monday is the start of our positional series at Baseball Prospectus, and we’re going to give you a lot of information, opinions and strategy tips. In fact, we laid it all out for you here. But before we get into the nitty gritty, we thought we’d have a little fun with some quick-hit questions that we answered as a team. Some of these were questions we got from you, the readers. Some were just interesting discussion points. But here are 14 opinions on 20 questions:
1) True/False: Starling Marte will be the most valuable Pirates outfielder in 2017.
True: 10; False: 4
Majority Opinion: “I honestly can't tell if this question was asked to acknowledge Polanco's ascent or in anticipation of a McCutchen bounceback. I love Polanco, but I think Marte is safe from both unless his legs fall off.” —Alex Chamberlain
Dissenting Opinion: “Marte is great, but I am completely and unabashedly in the tank for Gregory Polanco. Last season he walked more and hit for more power without really doing big damage to his strikeout rate. I think the 2015 speed is still there too and he could go 25/25 next season. I guess that means Cutch is #3, which is super weird.” —Mark Barry
True: 9; False: 5
Majority Opinion: “Harper is going to need to hit 40-plus bombs to surpass Betts, who will likely hold a significant edge over Harper in AVG and SB while holding serve in R. Harper has the talent to do so, but with his injury history, why not bet on Betts?” —Ben Carsley
3) True/False: Gary Sanchez will hit 25-plus homers in 2017.
True: 7; False: 7
“Sanchez is going to slip but he hit 20 home runs in 229 plate appearances last year. Not unrealistic to expect 25-30 in 2017.” —Mike Gianella
4) True/False: A.J. Pollock will be a top-15 outfielder in 2017.
False: 8; True: 6
Majority Opinion: “Pollock missed too much time for me to be comfortable calling him a top 15 OF. I think he'll be good in the end, but baseball is such a timing sport, and I'm worried it'll take some time to get everything ironed out. I look for a big second half for him.” —Tim Finnegan
5) True/False: The Red Sox will have three top-25 starting pitchers in 2017.
False: 13; True: 1
Majority Opinion: “It's a great rotation, but betting on any (three of) five pitchers to be that productive doesn't seem like that great a bet.” —Jeff Quinton
6) True/False: Yu Darvish will be a top-10 starting pitcher in 2017.
True: 7; False: 7
“Darvish was good for 190 innings+ and 220K+ in his first two full seasons (2012-2013). Once he returned from surgery last season his K/9 rate and BB/9 were both a little better than his career averages. His pitch velocity also held steady. This might be a great opportunity to get a top SP without paying a premium.” —Eric Roseberry
7) True/False: Kyle Hendricks will be a top-two fantasy starter on the Cubs in 2017.
False: 12; True: 2
“It’s really not his fault, as I like Hendricks to be a top-30 starter, but between Lester and Arrieta ahead of him and even the guys behind him who could have a PADE-fueled low-ERA season, I’d bet against this one.” —Bret Sayre
8) Over/Under: 29.5 homers for Evan Longoria in 2017.
Under: 12; Over: 2
Dissenting Opinion: “The amazing thing about Longoria is that he used to be the ‘if only he could stay healthy’ guy, and he’s now played at least 160 games four years in a row. It hasn’t made people more excited about him though. He hit more fly balls last year than ever before, which is a great thing when you’re trying to hit dingers.” —Bret Sayre
9) True/False: Victor Robles will be the #1 dynasty prospect at the end of 2017.
False: 11; True: 3
Dissenting Opinion: “He’s going to be close enough to the #1 spot this year, and aside from Brendan Rodgers, all of the other players around him are on the verge of graduation. As of right now, the speed is the differentiator, but 12 months is forever in the prospect world.” —Bret Sayre
10) Over/Under: 154.5 strikeouts for Julio Urias in 2017.
Under: 8; Over: 6
Majority Opinion: “If Urias is going to get to 155 strikeouts, he's going to need to pitch, what, 170 innings in the majors? That's way too lofty an expectation for an arm that's never approached that type of workload and for a pitcher on a team loaded with SP options.” —Ben Carsley
11) Over/Under: 49.5 stolen bases for Trea Turner in 2017.
Under: 8; Over: 6
Dissenting Opinion: “Turner is one of the fastest players I've seen in recent years not named Billy Hamilton, and the Nationals dugout wants him running aggressively. It's a recipe for tons of steals. Stolen-base efficiency was pretty good, too, at 85 percent (MLB avg: 72 percent). Would like to see him walk more, though, to offset likely large AVG regression.” —Tim Finnegan
Verlander: 14; Fulmer: 0
Villar: 9; Murphy: 5
Majority Opinion: “Villar will regress, but hitters who provide as much of their value in batting average as Murphy did are historically greater risks.” —Mike Gianella
Dissenting Opinion: “Daniel Murphy is a fundamentally different hitter to me after his mechanical changes. I do expect some regression from a .345 AVG, but I still think he remains one of the top hitters in baseball. Sign me up for .320 with power.” —Tim Finnegan
14) Over/Under: 11.5 homers for Jean Segura in 2017.
Over: 8; Under: 6
Majority Opinion: “Segura seems to be everyone's favorite regression candidate for 2017, and for good reason. But predicting him to lose essentially half of his homer output seems harsh to me. I think Segura finishes closer to 11 homers than to 20 (his 2016 total), but I still think he'll be a top-15 SS next season. Some of the power is real.” —Ben Carsley
15) Over/Under: 19.5 stolen bases for Wil Myers in 2017.
Under: 11; Over: 3
Majority Opinion: “If Myers plays 150+ games in 2017 as he did in 2016, then I think he has a better that 50% chance of getting to 20 SBs, but that if is a significant if.” —Jeff Quinton
16) Over/Under: 19.5 homers for Dan Vogelbach in 2017.
Under: 10; Over: 4
Majority Opinion: “Listen, I’m all aboard the Vogey train, but 20 homers is what I’d project if I knew he’d get 500 PA in the Majors. At this rate he’ll be lucky to get 350 in 2017.” —Ben Carsley
Dissenting Opinion: “Booooooooooooooooooo.” —Bret Sayre
17) True/False: Manny Machado finishes 2017 as the #1 fantasy shortstop.
False: 9; True: 5
Majority Opinion: “I think Machado has the best chance at being the #1 SS for fantasy in 2017, but I'm not taking him over the rest of the field.” —Jeff Quinton
Jansen: 12; Chapman: 2
Both the Majority and Dissenting Opinions: “It’s saves. ¯/_(ãƒ„)_/¯.”
Thames: 8; Joseph: 6
Majority Opinion: “Just being a major-league-average hitter would be good enough to get him to 25 homers or so in Milwaukee, and while Joseph could go full Jayson Werth—taking advantage of that park—I think Thames is a better bet on a per-game basis and a better bet to stay healthy.” —Bret Sayre
Dissenting Opinion: “Tommy Joseph! Tommy Joseph! Tommy JOSEPH!” —Mike Gianella
20) True/False: Byron Buxton has a 20/20 season in 2017.
False: 8; True: 6
Majority Opinion: “We harp on small samples, yet here the fantasy community goes, betting the house on one month of elite performance from Buxton. I'd be willing to humor this if the peripherals could even remotely support it. And even if he does go 20/20, will it matter if he still K's 30% of the time?” —Alex Chamberlain
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